10 Things to Consider when Building a Home

When compared to buying a home, building your dream home makes buying seem simple. Although complicated, building a home can be a smooth process when you take the following considerations into account.

Develop a Realistic Budget

Simply asking a builder his average square foot cost to build a custom home rarely gives you a complete budget. Construction costs don’t account for design costs, permit, school, fire district, utility, or various municipality specific fees. Nor does it take into account the most expensive words in construction, “While you’re at it, could you — — .?”

Hiring an Architect

Generally, you already have an idea what you want your home to look like. This is why people build custom homes. Have pictures, magazines or perhaps an address or two of homes that you love when meeting with your architect. This helps to insure that the design reflects your desires. That’s what you’re paying the higher fees for. In addition, an experienced architect will also detail how various finish materials will be constructed.

Pre-Existing Plans

Maybe you’re considering a pre-existing set of plans. You can save thousands of dollars purchasing a set of plans as compared to custom ones from an architect. Pre-existing plans do not come ready to build, for they are not engineered specifically for your building lot. You will need to hire a structural-engineer when purchasing a pre-existing set of plans. The engineer will determine what methods of construction and materials will be most efficient in order to create a safe and long lasting dwelling for you.

Bare Land

Bare land lacking utilities or road improvements is less expensive to purchase than a developed lot and yet is generally more expensive to build on. By the time you build a road, install all of the utilities, and create a sewer system you may wonder why you purchased the beautiful hilltop with peek-a-boo views.

Developed Building Lot

Developed building lots are just that. A developer has already bought the mountain top or ocean front property and provided the roads and other improvements. In fact, the lot will have all of the utility hook-ups located inside each property boundary.


When acting as an owner-builder you are taking on the responsibilities of the General Contractor. It’s not uncommon to realize a 10% savings in construction costs while acting as an owner-builder. You will file for the permits, secure bids, locate materials and supplies, schedule tradesman and deliveries, and answer all construction related questions.

General Contractor

Time is money and scheduling is where the general contractor brings the most value to a project. The builder has spent years weeding through a pool of trade specialists. Sub-contractors, due to their long-term relationships with the builder, are more inclined to bend their schedules for a builder that they have worked for previously and are likely to work for in the future.


Each proposal should clearly state exactly what’s to be provided for in a written scope of work. A detailed proposal let’s you know what to expect and can be referred to in case any issues arise.